My dog Honey has acted differently lately. She’s doing things she’s never done before.
And I’m worried.
Do you think my dog needs a psychiatrist?
Who Left That Food On The Floor?
Honey has always had a good appetite.
When I fed her, she danced in circles. She’d eat anything I offered her under the table when she laid down quietly. And she did her part to make sure we never gathered ants because of too many crumbs on the floor.
Lately, she’s left a little bit of food in her bowl. She’s turned up her nose at less-than-premium treats like a tiny morsel of string cheese (cheese, people! cheese!).
And I noticed some peanuts attracting ants under our beach chairs yesterday.
What has happened to my always-ready-for-a-snack dog?
What’s Hotter Than A Furry Dog On A Summer Night?
Do you know what’s hotter than a furry golden retriever on a steamy summer night?
Unfortunately, Honey doesn’t know the joke. Or she doesn’t care. Because my dog has insisted on sleeping pressed up against me every night. In a tiny bed. When it’s over 80 degrees F.
Honey has always preferred to sleep with us.
But she didn’t complain when we put her bed in a crate beside our bed back in Ithaca. Or when she did share our bed, she didn’t feel the need to be in physical contact every second.
Last night, I moved onto the floor to catch the breeze from the ceiling fan and get a little break from Honey chasing rabbits in her sleep (can anyone tell me why those rabbits always lead her to kick me in the kidneys?).
Within a few minutes, she had jumped off the bed and pressed her body tight against mine.
Once Honey fell asleep, I moved back up to the bed where I slept comfortably until she hopped back onto the bed, pressing her body into mine even though she had half the bed to place herself.
Do You Have An Itch?
Honey has a new habit when we go on a walk.
Within five steps of going outside, she sits down and scratches herself.
She usually does this when I take her for a walk leaving Mike behind.
I read somewhere that dogs who scratch may be expressing frustration.But I don’t think Honey is frustrated. I’ve seen that scratch.
It comes out when I won’t let her go bounding over to greet that playful puppy and his humans.
No, this scratch is different. I think she’s worried.
She stops. She scratches to buy some time to see if Mike is following behind. And she does it to feel better.
Like someone who bites his nails or plays with her hair.
Is My Dog Crazy?
We’ve experienced big changes lately:
- Selling our house
- Quitting our jobs
- Selling nearly everything we own
- Moving away from our community of 16 years
- Living temporarily in my sister’s guest room
But one of the biggest changes is moving from a climate with low humidity and average summer temps in the 70s (I have long underwear and sweaters in my drawer now because I was still wearing them in Ithaca in May).
Temperatures on Maryland’s Eastern Shore are in the 80s and 90s with high humidity. In truth, summer in Maryland reminds me a lot of Panama, which is a heckuva lot closer to the equator.
I used to think Honey was a solemn dog. She rarely smiled.
In truth, Honey was a cool dog. She rarely panted.
So maybe Honey is eating less because it’s so hot.
Perhaps she likes sleeping on the bed beside us because we have the fans turned on our bodies to stay cool.
But I can’t think of anything about the heat (and no, she doesn’t have heat rash or hot spots) that would cause her to scratch.
I think she’s… no, not crazy. But concerned. Worried. Unsure of herself.
Comforting Your Dog When Everything Is Crazy
We take Honey nearly everywhere we go with the exception of our boat shopping visits. Somehow I doubt boat sellers would be terribly welcoming of my fuzzy-toed dog on their teak and holly sole or freshly varnished woodwork.
I walk her every morning. We find fun things to do with her in natural settings.
But everything is still weird.
I’ve reintroduced her old food back into her diet. We won’t be able to get it on the boat. But we’re not on the boat yet.
We let her sleep on the bed with us without complaining too much (shhh, stop laughing; Honey doesn’t read the blog).
I continue to train her to build her confidence.
But I wonder what else I can do to make Honey comfortable in the chaos.
I bow to your wisdom and will humbly receive your suggestions.
And if anyone can help, I’ll be eternally thankful. Especially because I’m tired of ants following us around looking for the snacks Honey snubbed.
Your Turn: Do you have any ideas for helping Honey feel more secure while we’re in transition. And is there anything else we should be doing now to prepare her for moving aboard the boat?